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August 28, 2009

Two youth deer hunts set for Orangeburg County

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with MeadWestvaco will conduct two youth deer hunts at the company’s Walworth Farms tract in Orangeburg County.  The youth deer hunts are scheduled on Nov. 7 and Dec. 5.  There will be eight youth participating in each hunt. 

Applications for the Nov. 7 and Dec. 5 youth deer hunts are available from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Columbia office or online. Applications can also be copied. Completed applications must be received at the Columbia DNR office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16 for the hunts. If parents have further questions, contact Willie Simmons, DNR wildlife biologist, at (803) 734-3898 in Columbia or e-mail SimmonsW@dnr.sc.gov.
The age requirements for these special youth deer hunts are 10 through 17, inclusive.  There is no application fee or any other costs associated with these hunts.  Participants who are 16 and 17 will be required to have a junior hunting license.  Young people who have an interest in trying deer hunting but have not had previous opportunities because they lacked a hunting connection should certainly apply.
All DNR youth deer hunts will be on Saturday afternoons and will conclude at sunset. At each hunt, there will be a brief discussion of deer biology and the role of hunting in wildlife management along with detailed comments regarding sportsmanship and hunter ethics. There will be a thorough review of firearms safety. More detailed instructions and directions to the hunt sites will be provided to applicants who are selected based on a random drawing.
Sportsmen’s children are certainly welcome to apply for the hunts, but are encouraged to bring another youth who has never been deer hunting or has very limited hunting experience. One of the best ways to recruit new youth hunters is through their friends and family that already participate in hunting activities. DNR especially wants to introduce these new hunters to the challenges, thrills and enjoyment associated with hunting.  Equally important, we want to make sure this introduction is done safely and ethically.  Both youth sportsmen and new hunters, who wish to apply for these hunts must fully complete and return an application that includes a questionnaire about their hunting experience and a completed liability waiver form.  Their legal guardian must sign both the application and liability waiver form. 
Walworth Farm is managed under MeadWestvaco’s Ecosystem Based Forestry Program to produce wood fiber for mills and to provide opportunity for the multiple uses on forestland. The property is about 3,900 acres in size, 1,800 acres of the tract are in MeadWestvaco’s Recreational Leasing Program and the remaining 2,100 acres consist of a MeadWestvaco Public Relations hunting area. Since the early 1990s, all 3,900 acres have been under a Quality Deer Management Program. The three-and-half-year-old deer on Walworth will generally weigh 180 pounds with at least eight points and an antler spread of 18 inches. DNR would like to thank MeadWestvaco for providing this great hunting experience for 16 youths here in South Carolina.

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